New film installation chronicling the voyage of a cargo ship offers an unexpected take on global commerce in an ever-shrinking world.
* FREE Artist's Talk: Thursday, October 4, 2007, 6 p.m.
Berkeley, CA, August 13, 2007 - The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents Rosalind Nashashibi: Bachelor Machines Part I, a film installation that chronicles the voyage of the cargo vessel Gran Bretagna and its crew as they venture from Italy to the Baltic Sea. The film, which is part of BAM/PFA's acclaimed MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art, will be screened continuously during the museum's regular hours from August 26 through November 3, 2007. Nashashibi will appear in person to discuss the film on October 4, 2007, at 6 p.m.
Artist Rosalind Nashashibi has garnered international attention for creating films that concentrate on the incidental details of everyday life. In Bachelor Machines Part I (2007), she uses a contemplative series of images to tell the story of the captain and crew of a large ocean-going cargo ship. The men speak, but not in English, so their story is subtly revealed to the viewer through facial expressions and bodily cues as they go about their work and recreation. Along with the men, the sea, with its eternity of lapping waves, and the vessel itself become characters in the film. This relationship of men, ships, and sea recalls the timeless mythology of seafaring in literature and painting, but it also connects back to the present-day context. Far from our expected images of accelerated commerce in an ever-shrinking world, and our jet-fueled notions of the global economy, Bachelor Machines Part I reminds us that most goods are still transported across the globe on slow, hulking machines operated by ordinary people.
Although Nashashibi's films have a narrative structure and feature real people, they are not documentaries in the usual sense. Referencing avant-garde structuralist film, she shoots on 16mm, and uses long, sustained takes and often static camera angles to present, as she says, "a particular way of seeing things." Past works have focused on a group of model-airplane enthusiasts flying their toys in Omaha, Nebraska (Midwest: Field, 2002); old women having lunch at a Salvation Army (Blood and Fire, 2003); and a family of Palestinians living in Israel, chatting as they prepare a meal (Hreash Housing, 2004). (Nashashibi herself is of part Palestinian and part Irish descent.)
Nashashibi was born in 1973 and lives and works in London. Her work has been shown in exhibitions internationally, including the ICA in London, the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Momentum 2006: Nordic Festival of Contemporary Art, and the Scottish Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Solo presentations of her work have been mounted at Tate Britain, London; Art and Industry Biennial, Christchurch, New Zealand; Kunsthalle Basel; and Chisenhale Gallery, London, for which Bachelor Machines was originally commissioned. In 2003 she was the first woman to win the prestigious Beck's Futures Award for young British artists.
Rosalind Nashashibi: Bachelor Machines Part I is curated by Elizabeth Thomas, Phyllis Wattis MATRIX curator.
Thursday, October 4, 2007, 6 p.m.
Exhibition gallery; FREE admission
Artist Rosalind Nashashibi will appear in person with Elizabeth Thomas, BAM/PFA's MATRIX curator, for an in-depth discussion of Bachelor Machines Part I. A reception will follow. The program is part of Free First Thursdays at BAM/PFA. Admission to the galleries is free for everyone the first Thursday of every month.
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, Bay Area community, and beyond. BAM/PFA is one of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, presenting fifteen art exhibitions and five hundred film programs each year. The museum's collection of more than 15,000 works includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting, including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko, as well as historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The PFA film and video collection now includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.
Bachelor Machines Part 1 was originally commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London, and Picture This, Bristol.
The MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis.
Additional donors to the MATRIX Program include the UAM Council MATRIX Endowment, Joachim and Nancy Bechtle, Maryellen and Frank Herringer, Noel and Penny Nellis, and Paul L. Wattis III.
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Packard Humanities Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Columbia Foundation, the Christensen Fund, the William H. Donner Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Gap Inc., other private foundations and corporations, and our individual donors and members. Major endowment support has been provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and by George Gund III.
Location: 2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue near the UC Berkeley campus.
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General admission is $8; admission for seniors, disabled persons, non–UC Berkeley students, and young adults (13 – 17) is $5; admission for BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty, and children under 12 is free. Admission is free on the first Thursday of each month.
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